Increase in Piggy Bank Sales

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Pig Out

With the economic downturn, many Americans are shopping less in an effort to pinch their pennies. Ironically, though, that is increasing purchases of one key item: the piggy bank. Erin Mara, a retail worker here in the Washington D.C. store Homebody, says they're selling hand over fist and that, "people were very upfront about the need to save... the pig is very symbolic of that sentiment."

And reports a spike in demand for private safes as well. One popular brand recently leapt almost 2,500 places on Amazon’s ranking list.

Meanwhile, personal savings as a proportion of U.S. disposable income rose to an annual rate of 2.8 percent in November; in April it was at zero. And while that is a considerable jump — it is nowhere near the 11.2 percent savings rate of 1982 — in the depths of the deepest recession in the last 30 years.

Wary Warriors

A new poll by the Military Times indicates President-elect Obama has some work to do in gaining the confidence of those in uniform. Six of every 10 active-duty service members surveyed said they were either uncertain or pessimistic about the incoming president. Just 33 percent were optimistic.

One lance corporal, who refused to give his name, said, "Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in the world with the snap of his fingers, nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief."

President Bush — who sent the military into harm's way in both Iraq and Afghanistan — enjoys much better support. About half said the president has the military's best interests at heart. But that is down from 2004, when that number was 69 percent.

Legal Challenge

The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a new state law banning unmarried couples from adopting, which some say was aimed at same-sex couples. The law was approved in November’s general election, but a lawsuit claims the act is unconstitutional and its language was misleading to voters.

One grandmother who lives with her same-sex partner says the new law will prevent her from adopting her grandchild, even though she is the only relative able and willing to do so.

Attorney Marie Bernarde Miller of Little Rock, Arkansas says the law, "violates the state's legal duty to place the best interest of children above all else."

Chilling Details

Scientists at the University of Birmingham in Britain claim that greenhouse gases — which are normally associated with global warming — may have caused an ice age 630 million years ago.

The Daily Telegraph reports researchers studied limestone rocks and found that large amounts of greenhouse gas coincided with a period of prolonged freezing.

While pollution in the air is thought to trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere — causing global warming — this new research suggests pollution could have the opposite effect by reflecting the sun's rays back into space, making the earth's surface cooler. The lead investigator warns the earth could cool dramatically — perhaps creating another ice age — if greenhouse gases are not kept in check.

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.